The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, has announced a $12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bolster research on influenza and malaria vaccines.
The grant will enable Scripps Research to expand its studies of antibodies that can neutralize many strains of malaria and influenza. Previous Scripps Research studies have found that these "broadly neutralizing antibodies" can serve as guides for designing promising vaccine candidates against influenza, AIDS, and other diseases.
The grant will be administered by Ian Wilson, Hansen Professor of Structural Biology at the institute and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology. Wilson, who has studied influenza since 1977, and his colleagues have analyzed the structures of possible vaccine candidates with the potential to eliminate the need for an annual flu shot.
The World Health Organization estimates that malaria killed more than four hundred and forty thousand people in 2016, the last year for which data is available. Influenza also remains a global killer, with up to six hundred and fifty thousand people dying each year from seasonal flu.
"We want to apply the methodologies and expertise that we have accumulated over many years at [the institute] for HIV and other pathogens to investigate malaria and help design a more effective and longer lasting flu vaccine," said Wilson.
“Scripps Research Scientists Receive $12 Million for Malaria and Flu Vaccine Research.” Scripps Research Institute Press Release 05/02/2018.